10/30/2011 11:32AM

San Pail and Sweet Lou shine brightest in Breeders Crown


While the early story on Breeders Crown night at Woodbine Racetrack was the absence of drivers Tim Tetrick, David Miller, Yannick Gingras, George Brennan, Jim Takter, and Trond Smedshammer due to a winter storm which detained them at an airport in New Jersey, the action quickly shifted to the equine stars.

The ballots for Horse of the Year may not have reached the voters yet, but San Pail clearly locked up that honor with his win in the $600,000 Open Trot.

San Pail settled in briefly at the start but regular driver Randy Waples was on the move before the first turn.

“I was more than willing to settle in third, but when I saw Rapide Lebel coming I kept going. Position is so important on this track,” Waples said.

San Pail put up the first quarter in 26.2 seconds, the half in 54.4 and three-quarters in 1:23.1. All the time he kept French invader Rapide Lebel parked on the rim in second.

In the stretch, San Pail maintained his composure and dug in gamely through the final yards as the hometown crowd cheered him on. He finished a neck better than Rapide Lebel in 1:51.4.

Sweden invader Commander Crowe was third.

“He’s just an unbelievable horse,” Waples said. “So many things add up to a great horse and he has all of them.”

Perhaps the most impressive performance on the card was turned in by Sweet Lou in the $600,000 rookie colts and geldings pace. A son of Yankee Cruiser, Sweet Lou  set a world record with a 1:49 mile.

After coming away fourth, Sweet Lou was rushed to the front at the half by driver Dave Palone. Once clear, the Ron Burke-trained Sweet Lou  opened up a huge lead and coasted home to become the fastest 2-year-old  pacer in history.

“He’s just super intelligent,” Palone said. “He’s been a gentleman from the word go. He doesn’t act like a baby at all.”.

A Rocknroll Dance rallied off dull cover for second. Hurrikane Kingcole displayed some early speed and came on late for third.

The best race on paper, the $500,000 colts and geldings  pace for 3-year-olds, lived up to the billing on the track. Three horses came to the wire together and no one could beat Betterthancheddar.

After Roll With Joe posted the opening fraction of 26 seconds, Big Bad John was sent to the front and hung a 53.4 half and 1:21.2 three-quarter time as Alsace Hanover came to call. Those two hooked up into the stretch and somehow driver Ron Pierce squeezed between foes with Roll With Joe to charge to the front. It looked like the winning move, but Mark Macdonald tracked Pierce’s every move with Betterthancheddar and got his colt up at the wire in 1:49.2 over After Roll With Joe  and Alsace Hanover.

It was a masterful drive by Macdonald, who like so many other pilots on the card picked up the assignment around post time.

“I was pretty sure Casie [trainer Coleman] would be cursing me out if I didn’t find a way to get out,” said Macdonald with a smile in the winner’s circle.

2-year-old Crowns

Star trotting filly Check Me Out had no trouble capturing her $600,000 Crown in a stakes-record 1:54.4.

Driver Ron Pierce, subbing for Tim Tetrick, floated the filly away from the gate and eventually took command around the three-eighths. From there, she cruised around the track on her own and never had an anxious moment.

“I’m a pretty lucky guy,” said Pierce,  on picking up the drive at the last minute. “I just sat there; she did all the work.”

Despite winding up third-over behind lackluster cover, Economy Terror stormed through the stretch to post a track-record 1:51 victory in the $600,000 Filly Pace.

Sent off as the 3-5 public choice, Economy Terror watched as Big Mcdeal and Pirouette Hanover battled around the final turn and through the stretch. When her moment came, driver Brian Sears unleashed Economy Terror and the daughter of Western Terror responded.

“[Big Mcdeal and Pirouette Hanover] were heating it up at the three-quarters and I felt pretty confident that I could pick them up,” said Sears.

Saturday was a good day to be driver Dave Palone. The winner of nearly 15,000 career races took home his second Breeders Crown event with a win behind Uncle Peter in the $600,000 colts and geldings  trot.

Uncle Peter settled into the pocket briefly before brushing back to command at the quarter. He waited patiently in that spot until the stretch and pounced on runner-up Possess The Will  to record a 1:55 win.

 “This is why we play this crazy game; we love it,” said co-owner John Fielding, who named the colt after his late brother.

Palone, who was subbing for trainer Jimmy Takter in the bike, surpassed the $100 million mark in career earnings with the triumph.

3-year-old Crowns

Chapter Seven rolled off cover and gobbled up the leaders to win the $500,000 Crown for male trotters.

Manofmanymissions was handled aggressively by substitute driver Palone and led a pocket-sitting Broad Bahn past the half in a pedestrian 56.4 seconds. Daylon Magician challenged hard on the rim and Manofmanymissions simply broke at the head of the lane, leaving Daylon Magician and Broad Bahn on the lead for a split second. At that moment driver Jeff Gregory, filling in for Tetrick, uncorked Chapter Seven and engulfed the leaders, stopping the Tele-timer in 1:53.

Broad Bahn came back for second and Daylon Magician was third.

“I got to start him off as a 2-year-old and it looks like I’m finishing him up as a 3-year-old,” said Gregory on picking up the drive.

It was time for another favorite and stakes record in the $500,000 Crown for filly trotters. Cedar Dove brushed to the front and won with ease in 1:53.3.

“She is a little faster than these other fillies,” said driver Ron Pierce. “She pretty much did everything by herself.”

Following a mostly chalky night on the tote board, the momentum changed in the $500,000 filly pace. Monkey On My Wheel pulled off the 5-1 upset over 1-2 favorite Drop The Ball in stakes-record time.

Monkey On My Wheel was fast off the gate into the pocket, she bided her time through fractions of 25.4 and 53.2 before pulling pocket around the five-eighths marker. Now on the engine, the filly continued the speedy fractions with a three-quarter time of 1:21.1 and prepared for Drop The Ball, who was stuck first-over, to call.

The favorite never got there despite a big mile and Monkey On My Wheel was a winner in a stakes- record 1:49.3.

“I was worried about my pocket trip at the half and when I moved it was an instinct thing,” said driver Jody Jamieson, who admitted his filly got the better trip than Drop The Ball.

Older Horses and Mares

Bettor Sweet gutted it out uncovered and refused to give an inch through the stretch in winning the $500,000 Open Pace over Foiled Again and We Will See.

With Alexie Mattosie on the engine and posting a speedy opening half of 53.3, Bettor Sweet was sent to the rim by John Campbell. He came up to the leader nearing three-quarters and edged his way to the front with both even-money favorite We Will See and second choice Foiled Again well within striking position.

Few would have given Bettor Sweet a chance of holding on after the tough trip. He proved them wrong to the tune of a 1:48.4 Crown-winning mile.

“He doesn’t mind coming first up; he’ll race his heart out,” said Campbell.

Bettor Sweet was the second Crown winner on the card for broodmare Sweet Future, who also foaled Sweet Lou in the rookie colt pace.

Driver Luc Ouellette guided Anndrovette to a lifetime-best 1:49.2 mile in taking the $300,000 Open Mare Pace.

Anndrovette played the give and go with Rock N Soul early and assumed command for good past the quarter. From there she showed her speed through fractions of 54.2 and 1:21.3 and opened up a multiple-length lead on the field.

“I just put her forward and she did it on her own,” said Ouellette.

Frenchfrysnvinegar roughed it uncovered on the rim and kept coming to get up at the wire in 1:53.3, capturing the $300,000 Open Mare Trot.

“Around the final turn I didn’t think so, but halfway down the lane I felt confident because she always keeps trying,” said trainer Jeff Gillis on his mare’s chances of winning.

Final points

Total handle on the card was an impressive $3,692,713.

Of the 12 Breeders Crown races, five were won by catch-drivers who benefitted from the bad weather in New Jersey. Tim Tetrick was the big loser of the stranded pilots. His listed drives won three races and finished second twice.

Of the 117 horses on the card, 37 required driver changes.

Ron Pierce, Jody Jamieson, and Dave Palone all scored two Crown wins.

A total of 12 different trainers scored on the card.

Five records were set or tied; one world record; one track record; three stakes records.